This article references classic recommenders functionality for use in Terra Dotta Study Abroad. For information on using recommendations with the most current features available as part of the 21.1 release, including the Recommender Console, auto-save for recommendation forms, and post-submission notifications for recommenders, see the Recommendations for Terra Dotta Study Abroad article.
Important Note: Clients using the Admin Console should refer to the "Recommendation Forms" section of the Admin Console: Content Management Knowledgebase article for the most current information on using this feature.
In Terra Dotta, applicants can be required to solicit recommendations as part of the application process.
This article covers the following topics related to recommendations:
- Understanding Recommendations
- Creating Recommendation Types
- Setting the Required Number of Recommendation Types
- Creating Recommendation Questionnaires
- Recommendations and Application Deadlines
- Admin View of a Recommendation
- Recommender View of a Recommendation
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Video Documentation
A recommendation is a type of questionnaire that will be completed by a person other than the applicant. The applicant can request that someone complete a recommendation on their behalf electronically or by printing the form and giving the person the paper. This person is referred to as the "recommender." The recommender is given access to log in to the site as a recommender to complete the questionnaire on behalf of the applicant. All recommenders can be seen under Staff > Staff Permissions > Recommender group. The recommender group generally does not need to be granted any additional permissions. A recommender can complete the paper form or access the recommendation questionnaire on the website to submit responses.
Different types of recommendations may be utilized. For example, an application may require one general recommendation, one language recommendation, and one recommendation from the student's academic advisor.
This article describes how to create recommendation types, configure programs to use the appropriate recommendation types, and create recommendation questionnaires. It also describes what the recommender sees when they submit a recommendation.
Important Note: New Terra Dotta clients should create recommendation types and set the desired default recommendation requirements on the System Features page before beginning to build programs.
Creating Recommendation Types
The first step in creating a recommendation is to define which types of recommendations you wish to use. This is done under Settings > Rec Types. When an administrator accesses this tool, they are brought to a listing of the existing recommendation types in their account. The general recommendation type, though not displayed on this page, exists by default. This recommendation type cannot be deleted from the system. Since it is there by default, there is no need for an admin to create a 'General' recommendation type. Example recommendation types include: General, Language, Professor, Academic Advisor, Employer, Personal, Coach.
- Admins will need the Settings: Recommendation Types (View, Edit and Delete) permissions to access this screen.
- Recommendation types can only be deleted if there are no questionnaires that have used that type, including retired versions. Once a recommendation questionnaire is defined as a specific recommendation type, a lock symbol will replace the red 'X' on this form and the rec type can no longer be deleted.
To Add a new recommendation type, click the "New Recommendation" tab. A form appears for creating a new rec type. Enter the name of the recommendation type in the box provided and include a brief description (which will appear as instructions to applicants) in the Description box. Press Save.
The global default setting configured in System Features will be inherited by all new programs created after this setting is adjusted. The default number of recommendations should mirror the number and type of recommendations required by the majority of your programs. This setting can be adjusted on a per-program basis, but if your default is configured to align with the majority of your programs, then it will only be necessary to make an adjustment for the few that have different requirements. For example, if most of your programs require 1 General recommendation and 1 Academic Advisor recommendation, make that the default setting here. All new programs will inherit the default setting of required recommendation types. For programs with different requirements, go to the 'Settings' tab in the Program Builder to make adjustments.
- Go to Settings > Question Items and create all the question items that will be used in the recommendation
- Go to Process > Questionnaires and create a new questionnaire with 'Recommendations' selected for the 'Applies To' setting. Once you have selected 'Recommendations' in the 'Applies To' box, a new drop down menu appears, from which you can select the type of recommendation. Note: If you choose to set two questionnaires for the same recommendation type and later attempt to export recommendation from an application,the second recommendation is, by design, not included in the export. However, you will see a link at the end of the response for the last question item on the first recommendation. This is expected behavior as recommendations are only exportable when there is one recommendation submitted for the recommendation type.
- Go to Process > App Cycles and click the edit pencil icon for each app cycle that will use the recommendation. On the 'Questionnaires' tab, check the box to add the recommendation questionnaire to the app cycle. Note that recommendation questionnaires are listed at the very bottom of this page.
- Recommendations cannot be configured to be conditional, deployed based on an applicant parameter value, listed as "internal use only," or deployed based on internal/external applicant type.
- Recommendations can be made program-specific, program group-specific, and/or term specific.
It is the responsibility of the applicant (or, if taken on, the office) to contact the recommender and notify them of the deadline for the application so that it can be submitted prior to the application's review by the office staff. However, should the recommender not complete the recommendation prior to the application deadline, the software will not block its submission afterwards. It will record the date on which the recommendation was submitted like any other recommendation submitted for an application.
Admin View of a Recommendation
Note: It is not currently possible to send batch reminder emails to recommenders who have not submitted their recommendations. You can run a progress audit to see which applicants are missing recommendations, but you would need to go into each applicant's record to email the recommender who hasn't submitted yet.
Another method of finding recommendation requests that haven't been submitted is to use the ' recs pending' option on the application search results screen. This can be used to find all the requests that are not yet completed for a list of applications. There is an icon for sending an individual recommender the email again regarding the recommendation request.